Things That Matter

A Wealthy Couple Cheated Indigenous Peoples In Canada Out Of COVID Vaccines

Cases of COVID-19 are drastically devastating Indigenous communities across the globe. In Western Canada, this truth is quite alarming particularly because of how the rates have vastly risen in these communities. In fact, according to Canada Public Health and Indigenous Services data, “The rate of reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations living on reserve is currently 40% higher than the rate in the general Canadian population.” Even more shocking, “The COVID-19 case fatality rate among First Nations living on reserve is about one-third of the case fatality rate in the general Canadian population.”

Still, despite all of this a wealthy Canadian couple had the temerity to lie about their residency and occupation. All in an attempt to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine meant for First Nation residents.

A businessman and his actress wife chartered a private plane to Beaver Creek to get vaccinated.

Rodney Baker, 55, and his wife Ekaterina Baker, 32, flew out to the community in Whitehorse last week. Whitehorse consists of approximately 100 people, most of whom belong to the White River First Nation. Upon arrival, the Bakers allegedly told members of the mobile vaccination clinic that they were employees of the local motel. Once they received their shots they flew back to Whitehorse on their private plane. 

The community became suspicious of the couple and someone eventually reported them to Yukon authorities. Investigating officers were able to track the couple down at the Whitehouse airport according to Yukon’s Minister of Community Services John Streicker.

The Bakers are now facing two charges under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.

The charges include failure to self-isolate and failure to abide by a travel declaration. Yukon, where White River First Nation is located, has had a low number of cases per capita compared to the rest of Canada. Anyone who enters the area is supposed to requires anyone entering the territory to quarantine for 14 days. 

According to VICE, “The maximum possible penalty under the act is $500 plus a $75 surcharge per charge—meaning a maximum of $1,150 each—and/or up to six months in jail.”

News of the couple’s actions has led to Rodney Baker’s resignation as CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. According to VICE, “Baker’s former position netted him $10.6 million in salary and compensation in 2019.”

In a statement about the incident, White River Chief Angela Demit said that she was “deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes.” Demit went onto underline the fact that the First Nation community was selected for priority vaccination because of “its high concentration of elderly people, limited access to healthcare, and remote location.”

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer has described the Bakers’ “deception” as extremely selfish. 

“It’s the height of selfishness,” Dr. Brendan Hanley said about their behavior.

In a statement about the incident, White River First Nation said in a press release that “White River First Nation is particularly concerned with the callous nature of these actions…as they were in blatant disregard of the rules which keep our community safe during this unprecedented global pandemic.” They also called the penalties that the couple will face insufficient.

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A School District Employee Cut A Biracial Girl’s Hair Without Her Parents’ Permission

Fierce

A School District Employee Cut A Biracial Girl’s Hair Without Her Parents’ Permission

LUIS ROBAYO / Getty

At a young age, Black women are often given the instruction to not allow “anyone to touch your hair” by their mothers or fathers. The direction is often given as a sort of shield. Don’t let anyone touch your hair can mean ‘don’t let anyone ruin the hard work I put into it’ but more underlining is the notion to not allow anyone to make you feel “other” because your hair is different from their own.

A father from Michigan has a new reason for delivering this message to his 7-year-old daughter.

On March 24, Jimmy Hoffmeyer’s daughter Jurnee came home from her school, Ganiard Elementary, with the right side of her hair sheered off by a classmate. According to USA Today, Jurnee’s schoolmate cut off two to three inches of Jurnee’s hair. That same day, Hoffmeyer brought Jurnee to a local hair salon to fix her hair. The stylist cut Jurnee’s hair in an asymmetrical cut and also provided the little girl with free haircuts until her hair finally grew back in length.

All seemed to have been fixed.

Then, two days later, Jurnee returned home from school with her hair cut on the other side.

Jurnee told her father that the school’s library employee cut off the other side. In an attempt to get answers, Hoffmeyer attempted to contact his daughter’s school over the phone. After several calls and no answers, he contacted the police.

According to USA Today, the Mount Pleasant Police Department told the oultet that Hoffmeyer contacted them but never filed a police report. 

Hoffmeyer went onto tell USA Today that an assistant at Jurnee’s school apologized to him for the incident before explaining that the school’s principal would not be able to speak with him until after spring break because he was out of the office. “On April 5, he said he received a call from the principal and was told the librarian would receive marks on her report but did not have the authority to do anything further,” reports USA Today. “Hoffmeyer said he received a call 45 minutes later from the district’s superintendent, Jennifer Verleger, who offered to send Jurnee an apology card in the mail.”

In response to the offer, Hoffmeyer said “An apology card to a 7-year-old who is humiliated and has to be around her classmates like this?”

The Mount Pleasant School District released a statement to parents that claimed “a student asked for her hair to be cut both times, first by a classmate and later by a library employee.”

The released letter was signed by Verlege and stated that Jurnee’s teacher knew that the library employee planned to cut her hair.

Both Jurnee’s teacher and the school librarian apologized for their actions.

Hoffmeyer, who is biracial told USA Today that “his classmate who cut his daughter’s hair and the librarian were both white, but he is trying hard not to make this situation about race. Jurnee’s mother is white.”

“It’s hard to come to any decision when you don’t have answers to why it was done,” Hoffmeyer told the outlet before revealing that he unenrolled Jurnee from her elementary school and she is now attending Vowles Elementary School.

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Says People Always Assumed He Was a Girl Growing Up Because He Had ‘Soft Features’

Entertainment

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Says People Always Assumed He Was a Girl Growing Up Because He Had ‘Soft Features’

FREDERIC J. BROWN / Getty

Dwayne Johnson, agreeably one of the most “masculine” presenting people in the world, recently revealed that people weren’t always so quick to assume he was so. In an interview on “Sunday Today with Willie Geist,” that took place earlier this week the American actor and former professional wrestler revealed that when he was a child, people often assumed he was a girl. 

Speaking about his experience with presumed gender identity, The Rock revealed that people often thought he was girl because of his “soft features.”

“I would say between the ages of 7 and 11, people thought that I was a little girl because I had really soft features and I had really soft Afro hair,” he explained in his interview with Willie Geist.

The actor even went so far as to share a time in his life as a fifth-grader who was riding on a school bus.

“I sit down next to a kid, and within 60 seconds, he goes, ‘Can I ask you something?'” The Rock recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘Are you a boy or a girl?'”

Drawing on this time in his life, Johnson revealed that likely this also chalks up to his frequent moves as a child.

During his childhood, Johnson’s father Rocky Johnson was a professional wrestler who often moved his family around. According to John, he attended thirteen different schools by the time he was in high school.

“I have had a Forrest Gump-ian childhood growing up,” Johnson explained in his interview. “Wrestling in the ’80s and in the ’70s was way different than it is today. A lot of the times, including my father, the wrestlers would live paycheck to paycheck.”

The former wrestler reflection on earlier days coincides with the recent premiere of the hit NBC sitcom “Young Rock” a new series based on his life.

Fans of Johnson will be glad to know that he also stars in the series.

He is also portrayed by three different actors Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant and Uli Latukefu.

“Growing up, and you know we specifically went with these timelines in my life that were very defining times at 10 years old, 15 and 18 … there’s a lot of things in between those years that took place … but it was complicated and the relationship that I had with my dad was incredibly complicated — that was fueled by tough love,” he explained during NBC’s TCA press tour in an interview about the series.

He went onto share that his father “was kicked out of his house at 13 and he was homeless, so that then shaped the man who then raised me… And in that complication came an extraordinary life that was full of travel. I lived in 13 different states by the time I was 13 years old, also lived in New Zealand.”

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